What is faith? I have studied about it and thought I had an adequate understanding. I have experienced it and thought I have been granted a fairly assured footing. And I have been even tested for it and felt I have not totally failed.
Last night, however, in my searchingly prayerful moments, I received a special gift that made me richer.
It was a gift of faith.
It’s a precious jewel. It’s the kind of a jewel that is worth more than what I have ever saved in my own spiritual “piggy bank”. But someone else has saved enough to purchase it, and gave it to me as a gift.
I already have a box of gems of faith. And I treasure these gems. Look, here is a tiny little one that represents the kind of faith that allows me to look at things in rightfully delightful lights when things are going right; and here, another bigger piece that represents the kind of faith that allows me to look at things in positive lights even when things don’t go that well; and here, an even bigger piece that represents the kind of faith that enables me to go through certain trials without total defeat; and here… sorry, but no, that was the largest one in my collection.
But I just can’t move my eyes off the jewel I received last night. It is so beautiful. It is perplexingly beautiful. I had to wonder about it, and to ask the Lord to explain to me about it.
I’m slow in understanding, but I seem to start to understand it a little bit.
The jewel is a gift from an elderly brother.
Last night, the elderly brother passed away from this world and went to Christ and His God in whom he had entrusted his all.
The brother lived a full life. He lived a blessed life of faith. Through wars, persecutions, and tribulations, he suffered with Christ and His people and was kept in faith. Numerous times, God delivered his life from death. He lived for God and gave testimonies to countless people fearlessly, tirelessly and selflessly. God was glorified through his life.
But the enemy of God was jealous. And he brought up an accusation of the brother to God:
“Look, he’s faithful to you because you’ve been too good to him, and you have granted him many testimonies of miracles. If you allow me to take away that “crown jewel” but for a moment, he would immediately lose faith and start to complain against you.”
It was not the first time Satan has brought up this kind of an accusation against the saints, and God does not always allow such accusation to be tested against the accused saints. But this time, God granted Satan to test His servant.
God allowed the brother to have an illness. The kind of illness that would take life away from its patient. God is pleased and satisfied of His servant and is ready to receive him to His bosom.
And God further allowed much more severe test, which is the very core of Satan’s scheme designed against the brother. During the process, a confusion in communications of the diagnostic facts was created to cause the brother to mistakenly believe that his illness was cured and that God answered the prayers, when in fact that was not what God intended to do.
Then came the final test. The true condition of his health was revealed to the brother in the last days, and he realized that, contrary to what he had believed, God did not let his illness be cured. God allowed the enemy to test him, even in special ways.
God’s enemy knew that ordinary kind of attacks would not shake the faith of this faithful servant, so he schemed up a device, aiming to create a misunderstanding between the brother and God in whom he has always placed his faith. It was an especially vicious attack in our brother’s case, because one of the most shining testimonies of the brother is God’s healing by faith.
But in the eyes of God, it was an especially worthy test because of our brothers testimony.
For this is the testimony of our brother: The trial may strip all outer layers of the faith, to a point where even the strongest human faith would find it contradicting to itself, but the true living faith shall stand strong and firm. Through such a test, the true living faith would prove not to be a mere faith in faith itself as the Accuser was to prove, but true faith in the living God Himself.
And this is the testimony of God: For the benefit of His beloved servant and His beloved children, God is willing to suffer a temporary misunderstanding by many, for our God is the God of eternity and the God of reality. He is never after a temporary reputation.
Our brother remained faithful and stood firm. We are left to know one thing: The Brother’s last clear words of prayer were prayers for the church, for his beloved brothers and sisters. The brother was not even concerned of himself. He was ready to be received to the Lord who loved him, and only fervently prayed that his brothers and sisters remain strong in faith.
The enemy had nothing in our brother, and took nothing away from our brother. God kept our brother’s faith strong and perfect.
Blessed is our dear brother who passed through the special test and transcended to the other side, the Emmanuel’s Land.
The “crown jewel” that the enemy designed to take away has become even more shining in the heavenlies.
A special gift was prepared for every brother and sister who has shared our brother’s faith and testimony. The gift is purchased using a special endowment, which is the special test that our brother had gone through in his last days triumphantly, and kept in the heavenly peace.
That’s how I received my portion of gift last night. And I am indebted to our brother, and we both forever indebted to our Lord. He is our brother, but also a father figure.
“Parents lay up treasure for children” (父母为儿女集财) 2 Cor 12.14b.
Thank you dear brother, for making the children richer.
— In remembrance of an elderly brother, who on the night of March 16, 2015 finished his course and laid down his burdens on earth, and was received into glory by God the Father and Christ, the Son of God.